Over the last week, fans, tabloids and this very website inferred from a series of cryptic Instagram posts that Her Minajesty, Onika Maraj, may have dumped recent manfriend Meek Mill right on his ass. Those posts included two May 31 photographs of Minaj quoting lyrics from Beyoncé’s “Best I Never Had” (“Thank God ya blew it!!! Thank God I dodged the bullet!!!!” and “U turned out to be thaaaaaaaa......and I’m gon always be thaaaaaaaa......”).
The same day, Meek Mill posted a sad-looking photo of himself emerging from the backseat of a Maybach, captioned, “Even bosses got feelings u know?”
One day after unleashing those fire-fanning subs, Minaj tweeted, “Love my baby <3” (though tagged no one) and posted another selfie on Instagram, this one captioned “I’ll hold you dowwwwwwwwn,” presumably referencing Chris Brown’s verse on this Khaled track (though as a New York kid, I kinda wish she were throwing back to this). These plus a lovey ‘gram in support of Meek’s new video game and shopping selfie referencing a (fire) new Meek track served to tamp down speculation about a split—and Meek Mill is still supporting the upcoming US leg of her Pinkprint Tour, during which they’ll no doubt perform “Buy a Heart” and “Big Daddy.” But considering that most of our news about the duo’s relationship has filtered almost exclusively through Minaj and Mills’ social media accounts, these are still clues that all might not be perfection in the Omeekaverse.
First, some background. Though they’ve been publicly dating since around January and have known each other for several years before that, Minaj and Mill haven’t been together long enough to make it to the top tier of all-time epic hip-hop romances, whether ill fated or forever. They are not quite yet a Common and Badu, nor a Nas and Kelis; neither Amber and Wiz (RIP!) nor even Kanye and Kim. (They have surpassed Future and Ciara, thank god, but the ballpark of Jay and Beyoncé is still light years from here.)
If we’re being honest, it wouldn’t be surprising if we found out later the relationship were a high-profile rebound on the part of Minaj, clearly the alpha in this situation, with Meek as the comeback kid for Minaj’s weary heart after her split from childhood sweetheart Safaree Samuels. Just last December, Minaj spoke about that ten-plus-year relationship with CRWN’s Elliott Wilson:
We’re talking about my best fucking friend. Like somebody I would really jump in front of a bus for, before and after. Nothing changed. I’m like the most loyal chick. If you ask anybody that knew me from before this shit, they’ll tell you I was the same exact way. People can say whatever the fuck they want about me, I been this way. I been trying to run my own shit. I been like that. It’s just a sad time, because for the first time in my life, I realize everything I thought? It’s changing right in front of my face. I didn’t plan this. It’s just happening.
By that time, the rumor mill had already been churning about Minaj and Mill, not just in relation to The Pinkprint’s passionate collabos but because of Instagram pics dropped like crumbs. In December, a selfie with Mill captioned “Guess what video we’re shooting” was taken as a hint at their possible union, which seemed to be solidified at this photo of the duo cuddling as well as Minaj’s revealingly coy insistence that they were “just friends” around the same time.
But soon she was calling Mill “my baby,” and by April 15, Minaj revealed a humormous, heart-shaped rock from Pristine Jewelers on her ring finger, guesstimated to have cost around $500k; that day, Mill posted his own photograph shouting out the jeweler with the hashtags “#lightwork but #therightwork.” (Two days before the posts, he tweeted an emoji of a yellow heart.)
Their “engagement,” like the majority of their relationship, was never publicly confirmed, just simply speculated upon by fans, tabloids, and Rihanna fan sites like Jezebel dot com—but their bond is/was clearly precious enough to Instagram hand-model shots straight out of one of those TV commercials equating diamonds with love.
So, even if Minaj’s May 31 “see ya” tweets were directed at Safaree—with whom she hasn’t publicly interacted in months—what could have happened between posts of possibly-near-wedded bliss and selfies that said, sayonara, sweetheart?
Like a lot of (maybe) break-ups, someone went running their mouth. On May 26, just a few days before Minaj’s “Best I Never Had” Instagrams, music magazine The Fader posted its cover feature on Meek Mill, something that may have turned out to be a potential breaking point because Mill said no, they are not engaged:
“It’s definitely real,” he says of their relationship, “but it ain’t really time to get married yet. We’re still learning each other, feeling each other out.”
T.I., a person whose own hip-hop relationship with Xscape’s Tameka “Tiny” Cottle is so fealty and steadfast they’ve almost graduated to Ice-T/Coco territory, may have exacerbated this point later in the piece:
“I ain’t engaged,” Meek says sheepishly, but T.I. isn’t having any of it. “You never asked her, ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’ But she is your girlfriend,” he says. “You may not have asked her, ‘Will you marry me?’ But you are engaged.” Meek shrugs, unable to argue with this logic. “I’ve said my part,” T.I. says, backing away with his hands up. “As long as you know what’s going on.”
This is, I believe, where things went awry, if we are to believe the foolhardy facts presented by Nicki Minaj’s unelaborated-upon social media presence.
For one, Minaj’s satisfaction with her press coverage is almost always parse-able by how—or whether—she promotes it. When she likes something, as with her recent Cosmopolitan cover or her great Dazed & Confused profile, she is generally effusive about it, undeniably satisfied. (She was clearly open enough for the former; in the Cosmo profile, she talks about having sex “in the back of my Range Roger. It’s so small and comfortable. Neither of us could believe we were doing that, but it happened.”) When she is not, she is either deafeningly silent or transparently nonplussed, as with her December Rolling Stone cover (she posted the magazine and commented on its coverlines, “Mad Genius. Manic Diva. Oh yea?”).
All of which is to say, Minaj pays attention to the coverage of her, at least half as savvy and opinionated about media as any of us who are in it. And once the Fader’s Meek Mill cover dropped, amid fan retweets and excited promo for her upcoming role in Barbershop 3, here were her social media clues:
All posted May 28, they seem to allude to Mill’s words in his Fader cover, and though she posted the ambiguous “I love my baby” tweet, the diamond heart ring has been nowhere to be found since, either on her Instagram, on June 2—
—or in her most recent performance photos, shot at the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party on May 30, 2015:
If a stage performance seems like spurious evidence, note that she was wearing the ring on May 17 at the Billboard Awards, just nine days before Meek’s Fader quotes emerged:
So, is there trouble in paradise? Time will tell, but it’s worth noting a quote from her recent Cosmopolitan cover, about which she is clearly very enthusiastic: “I’m very protective of my heart.”
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Images via Getty